Letters to the Editor

Letter: We’re No. 50

Years ago in Spenard, we ran across an education survey by Money Magazine which rated Alaska as No. 46 in the nation. We, of course, set that to music: “What’s the problem? What’s the fuss? There’s four states — dumber than us.”

Recently, Forbes released an updated ranking of public school systems, and under “Quality Rank,” Alaska came in No. 50. There’s a rule in the comedy business — “Being fourth-worst is funny, but being dead last is just sort of embarrassing and pathetic.”Forbes then went on to say that “net migration out of the state also ranks worst in the nation,” and they quoted financial giant Moody’s research that “The (Alaska) employment outlook is the worst in the country over the next five years.”

Forbes and Moody’s are the big-time financial guys whose job is to research and analyze other big-time financial guys. To them, it’s not about political orientation — they’re interested in numbers, wealth and results. This report is crystal-clear: Four years of Mike Dunleavy’s education budget-slashing has gotten us a grade of F minus. Your kids and grandkids are going to the worst public schools in the nation.

I’m not a guy who idolizes or worships political candidates. I’m not looking for a cheerleader who can re-affirm my personal beliefs. I’m an insensitive, greedy capitalist who simply wants results. I don’t care what my plumber’s religion is telling him about abortion, and I don’t care what my electrician thinks about gay marriage, but I also don’t want to hear about their personal beliefs — I just want the sewage to stop backing up in my bathroom and I want to turn on a light switch without being electrocuted.

Political candidates are applying for a job, and we’re deciding who to hire. We elect our leaders to do the business of the people: to keep the roads plowed, to keep us safe, to keep the ferries running, and to keep the schools funded and operating efficiently. Political posturing, philosophical histrionics, and religious tangents are all extraneous. Keep the ship afloat before you start telling passengers what they can do in the privacy of their own cabins.

So how is Mike Dunleavy doing in the “taking care of business” department? Forbes, Moody’s, and I are giving him an F. There’s never a guaranteed solution to any problem, but in this case, we can’t do worse than we are already doing. That’s why I’m thinking: That Les Gara, he’s a trustworthy feller; best choice I see to get us out of that cellar.

— Mr. Whitekeys


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